Because Girls Make the World a Better Place
Organized by: Alice Tomdio
EVENT DATE Nov 05, 2014
I was introduced to endurance running in 2009 by a friend. I had come a long way - from suffering from asthma in my teens to completing the NYC half marathon in 2010. I ran with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, honoring the strength of all those that suffer from cancer, including my uncle and grandmother who unfortunately lost that battle. Any runner will tell you that the appeal of such an achievement isn’t lost in the first run. And like they say, it is earned! Never given. With the support of friends, I went on the complete my first marathon in Berlin in 2012, and did two more (San Diego and NYC) in 2013. Let me assure you that I’m not really a runner. I actually find it boring. But still I'd always been intrigued by the idea of completing a marathon, mostly because the endeavor seemed so improbable and possibly impossible. Running a marathon is a personal triumph, proof that you can set an almost unfathomable goal and work very hard to make it a reality.
In 2012, I was among 400 staff and partners in the PwC US firm selected to participate in Project Belize—an innovative program designed to solve social and economic challenges by integrating financial literacy and entrepreneurship into the public school curriculum. Coming back from an intense period of volunteering gets in your blood; it changes who you are, it changed me. Project Belize taught me more than I actually gave back. The experience inspired my decision to replicate a similar program in Cameroon.
So what does running marathons and volunteering at Project Belize have in common? Well, this fall I will be running my fourth marathon, the Chicago Marathon. And like my first half marathon, I want it to signify selflessness, something bigger, and ultimately, give back to girls in Cameroon; thereby fulfilling the commitment I made to myself after participating in Project Belize - educate future female leaders within the Cameroonian community. It's a journey to encourage inspirational storytelling and information sharing in the areas of financial literacy, leadership and entrepreneurship. I believe that education is the key to working towards a more sustainable future. Education works by giving people the power to realize how much power they have to inspire change and improve their communities. And I believe that equal education is a crucial starting point for community-driven change.
All of the schools I will be visiting were chosen based on consultation with local educators. Although there is an inescapable bias here I felt that it was important to prioritize those schools where the inspiration might take hold and ignite a passion for learning and leadership. And I believe that local educators are best positioned to identify schools with that potential.
'It's in the numbers.' Here are five compelling statistics on girls' education:
1. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.
2. 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year; 38 thousand today; 13 girls in the last 30 seconds.
3. A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
4. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.
5. A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
With $5,000, we will be able to pay for 5 girls to complete their high school education. To make your contribution worthwhile I have included three neat perks. More information will follow on that once you donate.